Baylands Golf Links is a story about nature. In its early days the course meandered across the lowlands of Palo Alto’s Baylands. At the estuary of San Francisquito Creek these 18 holes were formed by golf course architect William P. Bell and his son, William F. Bell. The two conceived a course where public golf would meet nature, and where players would be afforded the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors along one of the world’s most famous waterways — San Francisco Bay.
As time moved on the course became deﬁned by naturally salty soils and their detriment to growing quality turf. In early 2011 the City of Palo Alto began to consider a major rebuilding effort. One that would not only rejuvenate the golf, but would transform the landscape to integrate with the Baylands Preserve, a crucial part of the City’s commitment to the environment.
Golf Course Architect Forrest Richardson was engaged to help the City realize this dream — to bring new life and pride back to the Palo Alto golf experience. The result is an entirely new golf course that draws from its past while offering exciting challenges and fun at every turn. The new layout features large bentgrass greens, native wetlands, diverse tee yardage and a links-style experience. A drought resistant turf, Paspalum, has been planted on the fairways, not only for water conservation, but to provide an excellent links-style surface where shots can be shaped to bump and run.
Dunes-like landforms dot the landscape along with such features as a large double-green, plus the unique 14th hole with its two separate “left” and “right” alternate greens. There are ﬁve par-3s and ﬁve par-5s that round out the par-72 design, able to be set up to play 6,800 yards. Baylands Golf Links is truly keeping with a links golf experience, something long awaited by Bay Area residents and visitors.
Scope: Planning, Design, Environmental Impact Report, Approvals, Bidding, Construction Documents, Construction Management Services, Branding & Signage
Course: 18-holes/Par-72/6,800-yards, Short Game Area, 3-hole Youth Course
Budget: $12 million USD
Completion: Opened May 2018
Owner: City of Palo Alto, California
Address: 1875 East Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto, California 94303
The Most Charming Golf Courses in & around San Francisco (10-2021)
A Bay Area Public Golf Gem Emerges (5-2018)
Baylands Golf Links Nears Completion (10-2017)
Forrest Richardson to Renovate Palo Alto Golf Course (9-2011)
Reducing Flood Risk (Feb 2019)
Baylands photos ©2017, Dave Sansom www.davesansom.com